Luke 13:14-15 - Honoring The Sabbath (Bible Journal)
"But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. 'There are six days of the week for working,' he said to the crowd. 'Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath (Luke 13:14 NLT).'"
"But the Lord replied, 'You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water (Luke 13:15 NLT)?'"
I love Jesus' rebuttal to the synagogue leader's response to healing the woman on the Sabbath day. I believe there is a difference between resting from work and taking care of a need, and like caring for your animal (the donkey) is an acceptable form of work on the Sabbath, Jesus releasing a woman that suffered for years from torment on the Sabbath is also answering a need. When God gave the Sabbath commandment I think He intended for us to rest from our daily duties that can be put off for a day to give us more time to focus on Him, not to turn a blind eye to needs that happen to come up on the Sabbath day. After all, what better way to recognize Him on the Sabbath than helping someone, from a pet to a long suffering brother or sister that could use the help?
Thank You Lord for the food for thought today in Scripture. Please help me to observe the next Sabbath day by resting in the way You intend for me, and please help me to answer any form of service that You wish of me on that coming day as well. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Luke 12:25 - Making Room For God’s Guidance (Bible Journal)
"Can all your worries add a single moment to your life (Luke 12:25 NLT)?"
Confession: I have been a worrier since I was a kid. I have struggled with worry all of my life, and it will definitely be something I will never completely conquer on my own. Even in this moment I have concerns on my mind - a few major ones, many smaller ones. To answer the question Jesus asks in today's Scripture, worrying about my concerns won't add a single moment to my life, and it won't solve anything either. Of course, some issues that lead to worry do need to be addressed. Ignoring the rent payment due or a potential health issue will no doubt lead to more trouble later. However, agonizing over these things in our minds when there isn't anything that can be done in the moment won't lead anywhere. Something that has helped is attempting to quiet my mind while asking God for guidance with what is concerning me, making an effort to not wrestle with the worry to leave an opening for God to put a thought in my mind that could truly assist. The following quote is one that I feel God led me to that I have utilized for years when needing to clear my head to make room for the Lord's guidance:
"No opposite can cancel itself. Just like a Chinese finger puzzle... what happens the more you pull? The tighter it gets. So can the answer be to pull harder? But the self that pulls can’t imagine what life would be if it weren’t struggling. When you see that nothing you struggle with in thought can be put to rest by the thought that struggles with it, the mind will quiet itself."
- Excerpted from "The Heart & Soul of Freedom" by Guy Finley.
Lord, thank You for reminding me of the dangers of worry. Please help me to practice worrying less, and listening for Your guidance instead. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Bible Verses Concerning Taking Life, Such as an Unborn Child
I know this is a touchy subject, but it's really been on my mind the last several days. So first, for a little bit of background as to why I am even posting something like this...
I never agreed with the thought of abortion, but I didn't know why I didn't. I had no "logical" response when someone asked me why I didn't support it. So I did a bit of a search online and found Bible verses, and then went through my Bible and checked that they matched with the Word. And they did. So, for anyone out there interested what the Bible says about protecting life, or the unborn, or the innocent, here are eight verses from my King James Version Bible.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;
(God knew who we were before we came into this world. Makes me think an unborn child matters greatly to God)
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished according as the husband sit upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23 And if any mischief follow, then though shalt give life for life.
(If a child is murdered before it's birth, the murder is to be killed. A life for a life)
Thou shalt not kill.
(I never read, Thou shalt not kill, except for the unborn. It clearly states, Thou shalt not kill)
Keep the far from false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thee not: for I will not justify the wicked.
(Slay not the innocent. The unborn at any stage of growth is innocent)
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
(Choose life. That simple)
Lo, children are the heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
(We are God's heritage. And before we are born we are his reward)
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
(Dumb means those who can't speak. We are to speak for those who can't speak for themselves, in the moment when they are to be sentenced to die)
A lot of people who try to justify abortions go to Numbers 5, so I thought I'd add that too, and explain my thoughts on it.
Numbers 5:27-28 (for full context read verses 12-31)
And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have trespassed against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
28 And if the woman be not defiled, but clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
(So, lots of people think this means God is totally cool with abortions. But you have to remember, this was ALL before Jesus was crucified. Only after He died could He forgive sins with His blood. But before that, they had to give sacrifices and offerings constantly. The water wasn't what would've killed the child, it was the curse and an oath. (Read full chapter for more context))
Finding these verses helped me stand stronger in my belief as to why I don't support abortions, and if you are a fellow Christian who was wondering the same thing I was, I hope these help :)
(I do understand some circumstances are different than others and that some pregnancies have complications and that in order to save the mother's life the baby must be aborted)
God bless you.
The Good, The Bad, & The Holy Spirit
How can you tell if a Christian is really a Christian? Now that's an interesting question. Obviously if you ask a person, specifically a Christian, you're always gonna get a different answer. Personally, I believe it's a person's action that defines who they are. The same is said for Christians. In fact, why don't we talk about three individuals who are seen as good Christians in the eyes of the public.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I don't believe this is someone who needs any introduction. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the great pioneers of the civil rights movement. His "I Have a Dream" speech was been taught in every history class across America. Inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi, he fought against racism through nonviolence and civil disobedience. He inspired a national during the 60s and still inspires many generations afterwards.
Desmond Tutu was a South African archbishop and human rights activist. Like MLK, he was a pioneer for civil rights in his country of South Africa, fighting against similar acts of segregation. His efforts and his teachings helped earn him the Nobel Peace Prize. His efforts didn't end there. He was also a strong activist for gay rights, believing that all were equal in the eyes of God. He has even stated that if God was homophobic then we would not worship that god. This is an exact quote from him:
"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level."
He sadly passed away a few months ago from cancer at the age of 90. I've only learned of his passing recently and it pains me greatly.
Like King Jr. I don't think this man needs further introductions. Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers, was a Presbyterian minister and television host best known for hosting the beloved preschool television series Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which aired on television from 1968 to 2001. You know him best from his friendly smile and his fantastic sweaters. His show helped teach children important life lessons such as not to tell lies and that it was okay to be a kid. He also wasn't afraid to discuss heavy subjects such as death and divorce to children, feeling that children are capable of understanding such subjects.
Now that we've talk about the good let's talk about three Christians who are deplorable in the eyes of the public.
Jim Bakker is a Christian televangelist and con artist. Some may recognize him from The 700 Club and his own television program, The Jim and Tammy Show. His shows mainly consisted of him preaching to the audience and getting them to donate to his church. He managed to steal from his congregation through their donations and used it for his own needs. H was arrested and charge with multiple accounts of fraud and was sentenced to eight years in prison, serving only five and released on parole.
He also raped his secretary Jessica Hahn. While she never said she never called the incident rape she never called the sexual encounter consensual, so I'm gonna call it what it really is. It's rape. Bakker kept her silent by paying her $279,000, some of that money was from the donations from his followers. To this day Jessica Hahn has not received any justice for the assault.
Fred Phelps was the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is essentially a Christian hate group. He's mainly infamous for his deplorable views on homosexuality and leading his followers to protesting at funerals for gay people, military vets, and disaster victims who he believed were killed by God as a means for tolerating homosexuality. Thankfully, the world got a little quieter when he passed away back in 2014.
Now this individual is likely going to stir up some controversy here but that's okay. For those who don't know Dennis Rader is one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. He is identified as the BTK killer. BTK are the abbreviations for "Bind", "Torture", "Kill", which was his modus operandi. Throughout the 1970s and 80s he tortured and killed ten people: seven women, one man, and two children. For the longest time he was never caught by the authorities, often sending them cryptic letters taunting them. He was finally arrested in 2005 when police traced a floppy disc that contained metadata leading back to his church. Rader is currently incarcerated, serving a life sentence without parole.
So why am I adding one of the most notorious serial killers to this list. It is important to know that he is in fact Christian. He was a fell active and devoted member of his church, Christ Lutheran Church. He was elected president of the church council and was a Cub Scout leader. Now it is important to note that he didn't commit these crimes in the name of Christianity. Yet he was still Christian while he committed these crimes.
I know someone will read this and say that I'm cherry picking the bad guys, or they'll say they aren't real Christians, but here's the reality. Whether you like it or not those people represent your religion to the world. When Fred Phelps and his members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested at soldier funerals it casts a shadow on all of Christianity. Or when a televangelist finds themselves in a major scandal, using donations to their church as a means for their benefits, it looks bad. Or when a pastor preaches horrible advice that have extreme and dire consequences, it looks bad. Or a youth pastor is arrested for things he's done to the people they were supposed to be guiding and protecting, it looks bad. To borrow a quote from Trevor of the Belief it or Not podcast, I'm not the one trying to make Christianity look bad, these people are. If there's anything you should take out of this post it this: the three I mentioned aren't not terrible Christians, they are terrible people. All they've done their entire lives is hurt people.
To me, this is how you tell if someone is really a Christian. On how whether their actions and words help people versus hurt people.
But let's say that you are right. Christianity had it right all along. Not just that but your version of Christianity was the right way. So my question for you is this, shouldn't you be way more angry that the people I listed are doing more damage to your religion and your god? If you are angry, what are you doing to change it? If not, why aren't you angry about it?
I've said this before but it's worth repeating. If you truly want to be a good Christian be like Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, and Fred Rogers. These three have spent their entire lives helping people, not because it was their Christian duty but they saw the world as broken and in need of fixing. And the way they went about it was through kindness, generosity, and compassion. These are the exact teachings from the Bible that every Christian should be living up to. Honestly if there was a heaven I would rather spend an eternity with those three rather than spend it with Bakker, Phelps, and Rader. Because spending an eternity with horrible people doesn't sound like heaven, does it?
Now some of you are going to point out that I chose these individuals because I either like/dislike them or agree/disagree. Honestly I can do the same in regards to any other religion like Islam or Judaism. Heck, I can even do the same for atheism. There's certainly some atheists I like like Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist and other atheists that are insufferable asses like Bill Maher. Again, that's not the point of this post. Regardless of one's faith or lack thereof you are ultimately defined by your words and actions. That's what either compares or separates you from so many others. Bottom line, just be kind to others, treat them with respect even if you don't completely agree, and call out those who are intentionally doing harm to others.
#atheist #atheism #religion #Christianity
Luke 11:34 - Rekindling Goals (Bible Journal)
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness (Luke 11:34 NLT)."
The message at my local church this past Sunday called for us to be lights that stand out in a way that points others to Jesus Christ. We were encouraged to think about if we are acting as light in specific places (work, home, on vacations, at the supermarket, even social media). I was humbled by the message and reminded of how I have been coming home tired from work, and not shining as brightly for my family as I should be. The Scripture is a good reminder that falling short on this puts a damper on the light I could be acting as, and the passage has inspired me to seek improvement. Fortunately, God doesn't expect us to do this without His help, which also reminds me that I need to pray to Him to help me shine brighter for His glory, especially at home.
Lord, thank You for telling me through church and Scripture where I need to put more work in. Please forgive me for the times my light falters. Please help me to find ways to rekindle that light, especially around my family. I want to serve my family and others in a way that will point to You and cause them to behold Your glorious shine. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Who’s Report Will You Believe?
(This is a song I heard today in church)
Will you believe
We shall believe
The report of the Lord
His report says
I am healed
His report says
I am filled
His report says
I am free
His report says victory
(The last several months now, dairy has been bothering my stomach and making me fatigued. I assumed it was a lactose intolerance deal, but I'd never actually gotten diagnosed. Last Sunday my pastor had everyone who needed healing to raise their hand during prayer, so I raised my hand seeking healing for this problem. I am going to be honest, I forgot I had raised my hand, and did not think about it until a couple days later. I've had cerial with real milk, eaten icecream, buttercream on cake, and had at least two cups of milk since last Sunday. No pain, no fatigue. I am healed! This song just reminds me of that healing and I am so thankful I serve a living God.)
A True Christian
So, I was scrolling through the posts, and I saw a lot of people posting things like, "A true Christian is super nice, and he's loving, and he does this, and he does that" but the question was not, "What is an ideal Christian?" or "How should a Christian act?"
The answer that you are looking for is quite simple. The only thing that qualifies you as a Christian--the only thing that needs to happen in order for one to go to Heaven--is simply believing that God is Who He says He is. John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9--simply belief that Jesus is God. Often times, people will ask, "Well, a Catholic believes that Jesus is God, but they think that Heaven works differently. According to your belief system--that the only requirement is belief--will they be in Heaven as well?" The answer is no. And here is why: they are believing in something that they do to get them to Heaven. They are believing in a prayer, they are believing that their ancestors will pay their way in, they are believing in their good deeds. God asks that we believe in Him to get into Heaven, and that is it. Now you may be wondering, "Caleb, how do you know that you subscribe to the proper belief system?" And to that I say, Have you read the Bible? 'Cause, like, it don't say nothin' about no sinners prayer. Nor does it say that you have to speak tongues in order to be considered saved. Nor does it say that you need to completely change your life. Nor does it say that baptism is a requirement, just something that all Christians should do. Which is different. You're not condemned to Hell because you didn't have your Pastor dunk your head into a pool of water.
Salvation is easy, and we tend to over complicate it with a bunch of unnecessary and's. It is simply belief. The Bible says it time and time again: belief. Nothing more. One can have the faith of a mustard seed, but as long as they have that ounce of belief in them in that moment--that belief that it is Jesus Who saved you, that God is God--they are saved. Where they take their life from there is their choice. God asks us to live a certain way, but we won't lose our salvation if we choose not to follow. And we never have to get saved again. Once saved, always saved.
If you want to know what a Christian strives to be, I believe many of the posts here brought up a lot of what that is. I won't go into it unless asked, in which case I will try to write up a post on it.
To truly be a Christian, you must not only believe God/Jesus exists but also accept His gift of salvation and accept Him into your heart to essentially "take the wheel." True Christians ought to know where they're going and not be afraid of death, because they know they will be with their Savior. True Christians ought to live for Christ, by showing His love and telling others about the Good News - that He died to take the punishment of our sins so that we can live forever with Him.
True Christians, however, usually struggle with doubt. Because they belong to the Lord, they are often attacked spiritually by Satan, trying to discourage them. One common doubt Satan plants in people's minds is that one's "not good enough," or "too far gone" to be saved. Even those who have been Christians for decades still struggle.
Jesus did not promise that we would have easy lives, rather He said the world would hate us. John 15:18-20 says, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world...If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." This is clearly seen in the amount of Christians around the world that are persecuted for their faith. However, they refuse to convert/stop meeting/stop spreading the Gospel. This resilience and willingness to lay down their life sets them apart because most people love their lives. You know why they can withstand being tortured, even killed for their beliefs? Because God gives them strength, and they know that what awaits them on the other side is better than anything here on this earth. That is a sign of a true Christian.
True Christians should be obvious in word and in deed. They should be joyful, even in difficult circumstances. They should be kind, even to the cruelest people. They should be different - a good, visible different that makes people say, "I want what they have!"
However, some people who profess to be Christians don't really have God in their lives. Some have accepted Him, but they struggle and aren't at a point where they understand how to live for God yet. Some people become Christians but fall away during difficult times. This is what causes people to misunderstand what true, strong Christians are really like.
True Christians should be easy to spot. They should be like "little Christs" - in fact, that is the meaning of the term "Christian". However, while there are indeed certain things that all Christians must do to be saved, I would like to point out that no Christian is the same. We're all at different points in our spiritual walk. We all struggle with different things. We all screw up. Some of us have different standards (more or less). We aren't all going to be the absolute epitome of Christianity.
But over all, true Christians are united in Christ. Because no matter how different our lives are, or the struggles we go through in our physical and spiritual lives, what really makes a Christian a true Christian is that God is in their lives and He has changed them from the inside out.
Well, when looking for a true Christian, someone who actually believes, there are a few things to look for.
1) Christ. I mean actually knowing him. Even if you are new to the religion. Jesus Christ is to be more than just a name. He's to be your savior, redeemer, comfort, father, and friend. If you don't know Christ, and what he did for you, you are not a Christian.
2) Change. There's an expression in the world of Christians. If you are "saved" you recognize your sin and God's ultimate power, and the divide between the 2 of you. A Saved Christian is someone who strives to be more like Christ. And they strive to love others sacrificially, they strive to turn away from their sin (anything against God's commands)
3) Difference. There seems to be something different about Christians, true Christians. Maybe you might not be able to tell what it is. But when you have eternal hope in life and confidence that you have God on your side, you tend to act differently than the rest of the world. In fact, the Bible calls for Christians to be set apart from the rest of the world.
I hope this answers your question! You can contact me if you have any more. :)
Honestly, there is one thing (in my opinion) that separate true Christians from false ones.
True Christians (in my opinion) live by the Bible and by the God of the Bible (meaning that they let go of things that don't line up with the Bible (I'm saying Bible a lot, aren't I?).
Those people who cruelly condemn others? Well, they're not true Christians, because they're living in hate, and God calls us to love everyone. As long as someone lets go of any sin they were holding on to, no matter how late it may seem for them, they can be a Christian - it's not an all exclusive kind of thing. It was never meant to seem like an all exclusive kind of thing either, and false Christians are leading others away by making it appear that way. We don't have to be perfect, and the hypocrites that act so aren't. Lastly, (sorry that this is kind of disorganized) true Christians seem to have this loving quality that's easy to see but hard to explain - like this light that's inside of them but kind of shines on the outside, too. There are a lot of other things in the Bible that (through stories, parables, and the like) separate true Christians from false ones, but I'll end this here.